Since I’m sitting here waiting for the all-day cookathon to begin, why don’t we talk a little bit about food? I’ve taken some pride over the years in being a pretty good cook, and an extremely flexible eater. There was a time not that long ago when I would put pretty nearly any edible item in my mouth, and defy the gods of health to do anything about it. I loved making messes in the kitchen, and the more complicated the dish, the happier I was. I made very tasty food, no denying it! And thanks to my belief in the food pyramid, which I’ve come to understand was invented by Satan himself, I actually thought that I was doing something good for my family. Four hours a day in the kitchen, cranking out high-carb, low protein junk. What a great mom!
Sigh. It was a mistake made from a place of love, so I’m not beating myself up over past food follies. But I do hope I can forewarn some other moms who may be headed down the same path of spoiling their children–spoiling their health and their palate for truly good food, at least.
Nowadays, my cooking amounts to throwing a big hunk of meat in the oven and roasting some vegetables at the same time. I’ve become, honestly, a lazy cook. And you know what? The kids are more satisfied and healthier than they ever were when I was putting all that fuss into feeding them. Ain’t that a kick in the pants? Truly healthful food turns out to be easier to cook and consume, not harder.
Toward the end of my last pregnancy, even though I had passed the glucose challenge test, I started having symptoms of gestational diabetes. I’d never done that in the previous seven pregnancies, and I’d “passed” the test, so I was shocked a few weeks later at the doctor’s office when they found I was spilling sugar in my urine. I had been feeling profoundly tired, especially after meals, but I didn’t make any connection between my health and my sugar intake. Why should I? I’ve always followed a good diet! I had put my illness down to being an old mom, even though I was only 37. Thankfully, I had just begun spending my enforced time on the couch reading a book that now has a place of honor right next to my Bible, Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes. So I had a problem, but I also had a solution!
What’s amazing to me is that, as fat as I was (160 lbs on a five-foot frame), I never thought that this was unhealthy. I would always come back down to about 135 or so after a pregnancy, and nobody even seemed to think of me as fat, so I wasn’t concerned. I ate what the Food Pyramid guidelines said to, and didn’t have any diagnosable eating disorders, so I thought I was doing ok.
I felt awful, my thyroid disease kept getting worse, and I couldn’t lose that last thirty pounds, but the culture around me, the doctors I saw, and the mainstream nutritional advice all said I was doing everything right, and this is just the way I have to be. Must be genetic. Everyone who has been healed by a ketogenic way of eating will surely join me in saying “Thank God for Gary Taubes!” His work started me off on a journey to health by turning my food-view–and my food pyramid–upside down.
Our Thanksgiving meal today will be fairly traditional. I will certainly include some whole food carbohydrates. I’m even going to put some little marshmallows on the sweet potato casserole. Since the kids never get to eat that stuff, it will be a treat. There will be no industrial seed oils. The “potatoes” will be made of cauliflower, and you almost wouldn’t know it. The cranberry sauce and desserts will be sugar-free.
A friend asked me yesterday if I wouldn’t have some of my favorite foods, like stuffing, just for the holiday. In my current state of health, I could certainly “get away” with eating any amount of carbs I want for just this one day, or for several days, honestly. On the rare occasion that I do eat carbs, my body clears the glucose very quickly and comfortably. My Hashimodos probably won’t flare up as long as I avoid gluten and dairy. Still, I probably won’t eat anything but meat today. Cranberry sauce and my safer version of pumpkin pie are a distinct possibility. Habit is, as Charlotte Mason homeschoolers know, a very powerful thing, so I will probably behave myself very well, even in the presence of all that temptation. The longer I go without carbs, the less drawn to them I am.
And that brings me to my real point here. A holiday meal is supposed to be a special, once-or-twice a year blowout. It’s not supposed to be just a bigger meal of all the kinds of foods you eat pretty much anytime you want to anyway. I’m going to make sure my family enjoys some crazy-delicious food. We’re going to have dessert with whipped cream and wine. We’re going to thank God for the bounty of the year, and pray His mercy on the next one. We’re going to do all of that with no guilt whatsoever!
But then we’re going to go right back to our daily, boring (to the average palate) low-carb, satiating, whole foods.
How about you, Reader? Have you found a way of eating that’s different from the SAD diet? Maybe you were raised already knowing this stuff. What’s eating like on a regular day for your family?